Halifax/Antigua Photoblog

Chronicles of the photographic lives of Jenny and Andrew in Antigua

Monday, December 11, 2006

"Let's Triathlon" 2006

On Sunday (the 11th), Antigua held its first triathlon in a decade or so, entiteld ("Let's Triathlon"). About 40 people participated in the 1.2 km swim, 21 km bike, and 4 km run. Teams could be comprised of individuals, groups of 3 (one for each discipline) or groups of 9.

I, and two other teachers (Gord McGuinn and Nora Wilson), competed as a group of three. Nora was our swimmer, I biked, and Gord ran.

As well, we had a group of our kids compete (and complete!) the triathlon. I was really proud of them - they were enthusiastic, they took it seriously, and they worked hard for it.

The day began cold (for Antigua standards) and rainy. I was very concerned about the road conditions, and how hard I could corner on the bike. Luckily, by the time Nora got out of the water (she finished near the middle of the pack), the rains had pretty much stopped.

Since we live on an island, the bike route took us from one end of the country to the other - and up and over some pretty big hills. The final 3 km, though, was just one big long downhill - 200 metres of drop. My bike computer crapped out halfway through the race, but I probably maxed out at 65 km/h. When I cruised into the relay point to tag Gord's hand, I figured I covered the 21 km in about 42 or 43 minutes - so just about 30 km/h average speed. That was my target.

Gord took off up the hill to Shirley Heights (what a way to finish the run! 200 metres of elevation gain over 4 km!) while I switched shoes and psyched myself up to run the route myself. Gord's time would be our official time, but I wanted to run it out anyway, just to see if I could.

In the end, we finished 8th overall and 4th for relay teams. Not bad for a bunch of amateur athletes!

Our kids from Island Academy finished 3rd last, and we were so proud of them.

On this day, Jenny was the most spectacular person. She got up at 5:30, she made sure all of the kids were taken care of and transported to where they needed to be, she took all kinds of pictures, and she followed my to collect the bike. She's awesome.

All in all, it was a great event and a great day!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Antigua: Round Two

Well here we are for yet another year!

It has been a wee bit of a whirlwind since we got back: orientation week, meeting the new staff, seeing all of our regular friends, beginning of school business etc. Only now, does it seem we finally have time to catch our breath. Not bad! It's the beginning of November. Last year it took us at least until Christmas before we felt sane again, so maybe we're getting a little better at this teaching thing. It also helps that we are on a 5 day holiday here in Antigua!! And let me tell you, we have been doing a whole lot of relaxing.

I think I speak for Andrew, when I say that all our classes are going great. I love the grade 7 age group. Much less crying and nose picking than last year. And they tend to "get" things faster which is nice. However, there is an awful lot of material to know. I spend a lot of time learning things which I didn't have to do to the same degree last year. Andrew has been enjoying his physics although he spends a lot of time planning labs which is a new thing for him. And he still is the greatest math teacher on the Island.

The new staff seem great. Lots of interesting personalities, but the overall feel is that they are passionate about teaching which is what it all comes down to.

Still lots of drama going on at our beloved school. Drama and gossip is what they do best. Always good entertainment. However, I'd be writing for days if I filled you in on all the tales here in Antigua - another time perhaps.

You all know we were feeling weird and not pleased about the whole living arrangement, since they didn't get our cottage done in time. But it has been working out pretty well. First off, the place has a lot of perks like big flat screen tv, dishwasher, microwaves, air conditioning (yay) which makes life very comfortable and yes we are feeling spoiled. And we just get along really well with the family. The kids are amazing and spend lots of time playing with Ellie. El will be sad when it goes back to just being the three of us again. We really do spend lots of time hanging out with them which is great. But, our privacy is limited. Not that they walk in to our place or anything, but just walking by with open doors and windows.

Here are a few pix of our "fancy Antiguan apartment".

So there is the kitchen, living room with pool table - which we use as a regular table for school stuff, one of the bedrooms and the bathroom. For all those who know how much I HATED our gross never clean bathroom from last year, this is a big improvement.

They have bought materials and appliances to put into our cottage, but the guys have not actually show up much and done much work. Sigh... that's Antigua. The goal was to be in the place by the end of October. That came and went. Now we're looking for mid November. However, since it looks very much like it did back in June the mid November date may be somewhat aggressive. Here is a picture of the outside of our future home. The inside is unfinished.

Right next to our new house is the new school. This school was supposed to be ready for us to move into back when we were hired two winter's ago. As you can see, they are slightly behind schedule.

The beaches are as beautiful as ever. And since the high school is air conditioned as well as our apartment, I truthfully haven't been minding the heat as much. But oh how it's hot!!! It's hot by 7:00 am and doesn't cool down until 6:00. Our favourite place is still the beach.

Well that's probably it for now.... I miss you all!!! When you have a minute, drop in for an email. I hope you are all doing smashingly.

Halifax/Antigua Photoblog

Halifax/Antigua Photoblog

Sunday, March 05, 2006

This post will make mom cry

So our grade 11 and 12 kids are going to the Dominican Republic to work for a week at Habitat for Humanity. They get hands-on experience at helping the poor build a community. It's fantastic, and especially good for those kids who need a little perspective.

The cost of the trip, however, is quite high, and so our school needed to do a lot of fundraising.

Since I always like to help out, and since I have been blessed with big hair, I decided to auction my hair:

-$500 raised got me a buzz cut
-$750 goy a bald head
-$1000 got a mohawk
-$1500 got me a top knot (sumo style)
-$2000 got me whatever the kids decided to do to me

Well, on the final day, a generous person donated enough to bring the funds to $2250....

.... and the kids decided that they wanted to see a mohawk.

So I've got a mohawk.

I have to wear it for 1 week, then I can shave it all off (which I will do, oh yes).

Jenny thinks I look like a little kid.

And I wear a hat everywhere I go.

mohawk back

mohawk side

mohawk front

one of ellie, just cuz

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hockey Night in Antigua

Who says Caribbean folks don't play hockey? OK - I guess all the people in these pictures are white....

Every monday night, I roll on across the island (along with a couple fellow teachers) to play some road hockey. It's really a fantastic and beautiful thing. Ryan Hopper (our Phys Ed and Business teacher) has even taken to putting on the pads - because it's always better to shoot on a goalie.

There a bunch of Canadian ex-pats living down here who have, over the years, built up a good set of sticks, balls, nets, and gear. The weekly tradition started long before Jenny and I arrived, and will continue long after we go, but it is a fantastic thing.

Last year, during the NHL lockout, Ron McLean sailed his boat down here for a sailing competition, and our boys played against Ron and his crew in a friendly game.

For me, Hockey Night in Antigua is one of the best things ever - I hadn't played any sort of hockey in almost 3 years - since I had injured my knee. So I get excited (little-kid-excited) every monday night because I get to go play the best sport on earth.

The pictures, courtesy of Jenny:

1) a random action shot

2) throwing sticks to make the teams. Notice that I am still wearing my ridiculous knee brace

3) I got the cross-crease pass for a great chance. Hopper is actually an awesome goalie, and he had my number on this night. He made a crazy arm-up save on this shot. Would have been nice if I had finished for the camera.

4) Ryan Hopper taking a water break. Note the towel on his head to keep the sweat off. It takes a brave man to put goalie gear on in the Caribbean heat.

Random action shot

Throwing sticks for teams

I got robbed on this scoring chance

Ryan takes a break

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Clowning around, rocking out

Jenny and I have a little competition going on - we both refuse to put away the dishes after they are dried. Further, it was my birthday, so there was no way I was putting dishes away.

(pics are a little out of order)

She rose to the challenge. Big time. See how tall that pile is? Every single dish, pot, glass, and fork in the house is in that pile somewhere. Awesome.

In other news, Jenny and I are both teaching some kids how to play guitar. Or at least how to look like you can rock out on one. See those 4 little folks? They are rocking.

Jenny's cute, too.

Jenny and her guitar kids

a big pile

Jenny's handiwork

Rocking out